With the entire food industry going through unprecedented challenges last year, Aegean Exporters’ Associations took decisive steps to elevate the exposure of Turkish Tastes in the US, starting in Las Vegas, Nevada.
What is Turkish Tastes and Who is Aegean Exporters’ Associations?
Turkish Tastes is the brand all Turkish food and beverage exporters, under the umbrella of Turkish Exporters Assembly, are to promote in international marketing efforts. Aegean Exporters’ Associations, as a regional subsidiary of the assembly based in the coastal side of western Turkey, is leading a 4-year project in which Turkish Tastes is expected to receive exposure by large groups of American consumers and foodservice professionals.
Facts & Figures About AEA
The establishment of the organization goes back to 1940s. Today, it consists of 12 associations, 6 of which are food exporters. With more than 3000 member companies, the product groups represented the through the associations are:
- Dried Fruits & Nuts
- Olive & Olive Oil
- Cereals, Pulses, and Oil Seeds
- Processed Vegetable & Fruits
- Herbs & Spices
Although we may hardly recognize Turkish brands in retail stores, the total export volume of the member companies to the US is worth billions of dollars yearly. And, guess what? You are most likely already using Turkish ingredients in your kitchen or incorporating them in your menus such as dried apricots, oregano, and extra virgin olive oil.
What Did AEA Accomplish for Turkish Tastes Last Year Despite the Pandemic?
Before going through the accomplishments, you must understand the philosophy and the strategy AEA built. The organization seeks to establish a long-lasting Turkish Tastes brand through strong partnerships, engage with foodservice professionals, and create awareness in consumer groups. In this regard, the organization accomplished the following:
- A series of 6 live cooking events at UNLV’s Hospitality Kitchen where Turkish manufacturers featured food products. During the cooking event, an educational presentation lives from Turkey was presented by the manufacturer to include nutrition information, history of the ingredient, and recipe ideas. The presentations were warmly received by the guests which were a combination of Professors / Educators within the Hospitality Profession, Vice Presidents of Food and Beverage Operations, Sales Directors of major Distributors/Purveyors along many Casino Chefs.
- A partnership with UNLV College of Hospitality for the next five years creating educational content promoting Turkish Foods.
- Introducing and conducting the 1st Annual Turkish Taste Culinary Competition in Las Vegas. Contestants were premiere casino executive chefs in Las Vegas, owner/chef of catering business, educators/chef Instructor from UNLV College of Hospitality and more.
- A package of creative digital content to increase awareness, share the health benefits of the ingredients, and engage with the consumers.
What Lies Ahead in 2022 and Beyond?
The future of Aegean Exporters and the branding of Turkish ingredients look promising. As the organization has started a buzz in Las Vegas, the plans for 2021 and moving forward include:
- Host two major Food Events where professional foodservice operators and retail operators directly engage with Turkish manufacturers to test products, taste products, and engage in establishing relations for potential business opportunities.
- Aegean Exporters, partnered with UNLV and the Nevada Restaurant Association, will publish a Turkish Cuisine reference book, the first of its kind. The book’s focus is to provide consumers and hospitality professionals comprehensive content on Turkish cuisine, ingredients, and the health benefits of a Mediterranean diet. As a bonus, the book will include 30 great-tasting Turkish recipes.
- The organization offers continuing education through Nevada’s Restaurant Association and engages directly with restaurants and foodservice operations themselves.
If you would like more information on the products and upcoming events, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, you may follow Turkish Tastes Official on Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn. In the following issues of F&B Magazine, you will be able to get detailed information on ingredients and their top manufacturers.
Did You Know? Turkey is…
- The largest supplier of dried figs, dried apricots, and raisins.
- The largest supplier of branzino (Mediterranean sea bass) and dorade (sea bream). As well as a major supplier of bluefin tuna.
- The world’s 2nd largest olive and 4th largest olive oil supplier.
- The world’s 2nd largest pasta manufacturer.
- The largest tomato sauces, roasted eggplant, roasted pepper supplier cumulatively.
- Home to more than 4500 herbs and spices where oregano, thyme, bay (laurel) leaves, cumin, and sumac are cultivated and manufactured more than anywhere else in the world.